Gundersen hosts Science Medicine Day at Northside Elementary

Ryan Henry Gundersen Health System

When the sheet lifted to reveal a real human brain, the eyes of students at Northside Elementary School went wide. Any small distraction that so easily attracts students’ attention, the young ones were gone, and for the next few minutes, Nathan Miller and Alison Zeman, two students at the Medical School of Wisconsin, had their full attention.

Miller and Zeman were just two of several students, residents, medical assistants and physicians who led demonstrations Monday during Northside’s Gundersen Science Medicine Day.

About 400 students went through stations that taught them about the human body, shared healthy eating tips, talked about injury prevention and demonstrated medical procedures. In the cafeteria, lines of students waited for their chance to inject water into a grapefruit with a syringe, while in an upstairs classroom, others watched real X-rays before having their finger, hand or even head wrapped in a gauze bandage.

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Then, of course, there were organs. After a lesson in which students were asked to identify what each major organ looked like and where it was housed in the body, Miller and Zeman handed out medical gloves to the students, who each took turns poking, prodding and holding a brain and other organs that were being donated to educational purposes like this.

It was this kind of excitement about the medical profession and all that it entails that Dr. Robin Borge, chief of medical and clinical staff and program director of the Gundersen Family Medicine Residency, hoped to see. This is the third year Gundersen has hosted Science Medicine Day, which is held in conjunction with the Wisconsin Science Festival. The same program will be held Oct. 14 at Lemonweir Elementary in Tomah.

“I think they really like seeing our cadaver organs and seeing what a real brain looks like,” Dr. Borge says when asked what the kids like best. “I think they’re also excited to see our X-rays, see injuries and discuss how to prevent them.”

The goal, Dr. Borge said, is to get kids interested in science and medicine, with the hope that someday they might want to join the medical community.

“We hope that we can inspire some of these young people to consider fields in medicine in the future,” she says.

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